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The Data Deluge and Information Overkill

Posted by Pamela Swift in Operations

How many times have you been told by someone that what you have just said is too much information?

Now imagine too much information times millions. This is what we call a data deluge. The advent of the Internet and new technology has resulted in a steady stream or flood of information and not enough people or ways to disseminate all of this data into helpful smaller streams.

This is a problem for companies with both small and large staffs. The data deluge is a wall of information that results in overload, hindering ways the data can be used practically by those that need it.

The phenomenon of information overload is not new. However, in today’s world of data-driven technology the pure volume of information being produced is in many cases, overwhelming. This concept is being referred to as ‘data deluge’. The problem is, a lag is becoming increasingly apparent. Infrastructures, support tools and hardware are not always able to keep up with the influx of data.

Data deluge affects larger corporations in all areas, from the front office to the factory floor. Companies can use the data information flow to determine customer shopping patterns. If a major department store finds out that sales of a certain fragrance are through the roof at certain locations, they can reroute shipments of that fragrance to those stores.

With the advent of smartphones, data deluge can be managed. These same stores may have “apps” on their phones to track how many people visit their site and where they go. If stores see customers gravitating toward electronics, women’s fashions, etc., they can instruct heads in those departments about higher traffic. These are ways the data deluge can be disseminated and put to good use.

At LSI, a company specializing in storage and servers for small and large companies, Chief Executive Officer Abhi Talwalkar is approaching the data deluge as a chance to give the company more of a focus on the future. With volumes of information set to increase 30-50 percent over the next five years, according to Talwalkar, something has to be done.

“In mobile networks, the dramatic rise in video is driving explosive data growth,” Talwalkar said in a guest column for Forbes. “What’s more, end users want faster access to higher quality content, including bandwidth-hungry high-definition video and other rich media.”

Letting Go May Be a Solution

Data management can be a huge task when dealing large volumes of information. Organizing and archiving documents, emails, and other types of information add to the overall cost of operations. The costs as well as the risks increase as more and more information is kept. Sensitive data must be guarded to ensure that it is kept safe. The risks for litigation increase as the volumes of data increase.

Data mapping is an excellent way to create appropriate access to important information. Data maps are used to define the information that is kept and to discover any duplicate data that can be eliminated or consolidated. The data map is used as an authoritative and useful guide that can be helpful in litigation as well as in day-to-day business.

The use of support tools and such things as automated updates and deletes of files can help control the influx of data. However, automated systems should include an override that allows for flexibility. This can be especially important when there are litigation concerns.

As technology advances data destruction and retention are among the top priorities. The reality is, letting go of certain data at the proper time is as important as having the right data on hand. With that in mind, infrastructures and support tools should have built-in processes but they should also allow for flexibility. Individual companies need to have policies that address issues related to responsibilities, accountability, access, and time limits related to data and access of information.

Article contributed by Jenna Smith



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